Let me give you one very good reason why you should master the Old Testament: Jesus did it. Here’s my case.
If you think the Old Testament is a boring book and not worth your time or attention, let me give you one very good reason why you should master it: Jesus did.
In fact, he coped with Satan’s desert temptations by quoting from Deuteronomy…
He also used the Old Testament to teach his disciples and ridicule his critics…
He confirmed historical events like the destruction of Sodom, the murder of Abel and the calling of Moses–events found in the OT.
Jesus even confirmed the often-rejected OT accounts: the creation of Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood and the three days Jonah spend in a whale’s belly.
[Thanks to The BeAttitudes‘ article Jesus Quoted Old Testament Scripture: How Can Christians Deny It’s Validity? for help on the previous portion of this post.]
But there’s another reason why we should master the Old Testament: neglecting it can rob you of a rich understanding of the teachings and narratives found in the New Testament.
Let’s look at the books of Samuel for instance.
The books of Samuel lay the foundation for the all-important doctrine of the Messiah. In particular 2 Samuel 7 tells us how these promises of the Messiah created hope and expectations that New Testament authors understood to be fulfilled by Jesus.
The Lord promised David he would:
Establish the kingdom of one of David’s Descendants
The New Testament identified Jesus as that descendant who brought the kingdom of God to humanity. [Matthew 12:28]
Build a House for God’s Name
The NT writers viewed Jesus as the one who built the ultimate temple of God in three days. [Matthew 26:61]
Sit on a Throne That Would Last Forever
Hebrews declared Jesus had just that. [Hebrews 1:8]
Live as a Son to God
Jesus was the ultimate Son of God. [Matthew 16:16]
Listen: One of the easiest ways to master the Old Testament is to simply get in the habit of reading through it every year.
Another helpful way to learn more about the OT is read a book like Vanhoozer’s book-by-book survey of the Old Testament
You could also use the Seven Births method [this has nothing to do with contraceptives, by the way].
Or if you’re a sucker for a challenge, throw yourself into a fake masters program on the OT.
How ever you do it, the point is to absorb the entire Bible [both Old and New Testament], because there is nothing worse than a biblically illiterate Christian.